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A Kosher Atlanta

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A Kosher Atlanta

The OU symbol shows that a product is kosher. (Wikimedia/Messedrocker)

The OU symbol shows that a product is kosher. (Wikimedia/Messedrocker)

The OU symbol shows that a product is kosher. (Wikimedia/Messedrocker)

The OU symbol shows that a product is kosher. (Wikimedia/Messedrocker)

Sloane Warner

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Weber prides itself on having a successful kosher kitchen. Director of Admissions Rise Arkin says, “It is so important to have a kosher kitchen at Weber because, as a Jewish community high school, we welcome families of all levels of observance and affiliation. Since Weber’s kitchen is AKC (Atlanta Kosher Commission) certified, maintaining this level of kashrut enables all students and families, including those families that maintain kosher homes, to eat in our cafeteria. Having a kosher kitchen also enables us to welcome a variety of Jewish schools, synagogues, temples and other Jewish organizations to hold meetings at or visit our school.”

This accessibility makes it easy for the greater Atlanta community to utilize the space for events. Though not all of Weber’s student population keeps kosher at home, it is important for a non-denominational Jewish school to be aware of and available to those who follow kashrut laws.

It can be difficult to find restaurants and hotels that can cater to those that keep kosher. The Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, which recently took over the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta’s space, is one of Atlanta’s most recent hotels to allow visitors to bring in catered kosher food. In addition, The Grand Hyatt Atlanta and the Intercontinental Buckhead Hotel are certified by the AKC.

Having a kosher kitchen, whether in a hotel, event space or restaurant, requires supervision of the handling of the foods by a mashgiach. Meat used in the restaurant must be slaughtered correctly and must not be mixed with dairy. In kosher certified restaurants, there are hand-washing stations for the ritual hand-washing for meals with bread.

Two of the kosher restaurants in Atlanta that are popular with Weber students are Fuego Mundo and Pita Grille, both located in Sandy Springs. Fuego Mundo opened in 2009 as a kosher-style restaurant and has been certified as kosher since 2011. Much of their menu “is Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Hormone-Free & Certified Kosher. Senior Aliza Abusch-Magder said that “Fuego Mundo was the first place I ate at when I moved to Atlanta because everyone told us that it was a great kosher option.”

Pita Grille serves Mediterranean style food and also has a Shabbat menu that can be provided upon request. Senior Ruthie Stolovitz said, “we always get Pita Grille when my observant family comes to town. My dad loves going there because the owner seems to know everyone. We always bump into people we know there, especially on Sunday nights.”

Two of Atlanta’s most recent additions to the kosher market are in the city’s major tourist attractions: The Georgia Aquarium and Zoo Atlanta. Zoo Atlanta will open Savanna Hall in the beginning of 2020. Raymond B. King, the zoo’s President and CEO, said, “We recognized the need for Atlantans to have an exciting new venue with the built-in capacity to execute large scale, high-end kosher events.” The venue is already booked into 2020 and will hopefully have the capability and appeal to host bar and bat mitzvahs. The Georgia Aquarium partners with Wolfgang Puck for its catering needs and provides access to a kosher kitchen. The Atlanta Jewish Life Festival, which “aims to promote and celebrate Jewish and Israeli art, food, music and culture throughout Atlanta,” was hosted by the aquarium in January of this year.

The kosher food market has been rapidly expanding, both in grocery stores and public venues. The market is now worth at least $25 billion and is continuing to grow. While kosher options in Atlanta are limited, they are constantly being improved upon and added to. As hotels and restaurants continue to expand their options, Atlanta will hopefully become a leader in the market for kosher Southern cuisine.

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